Saturday, May 20, 2023

808 Eating House @ Joo Chiat Road - Accessible Style Of Inventive Contemporary Southeast Asian Cuisine


A new kid on the block in Joo Chiat enclave is 808 Eating House. The casual eatery by young chef Eugene Chee has conceptualised a menu inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine and regional produce. Chef Eugene wants to move away from the traditional fine dining atmosphere and create a livelier and more local vibe, fuelled by inventive and satisfying dishes prepared with finesse and thoughtfully-sourced local or regional quality ingredients.

Chicken and Egg 3.5/5

We started with some snacks - Chicken and Egg ($4) and Pickled Quail Eggs ($6). The Chicken and Egg is one of the dishes Chef Eugene frequently made during his stint at Bar Crenn while the Pickled Quail Eggs is a crowd favourite during a pop-up collaboration with Chooby Pizza. It felt like Chef Eugene was bringing us into his culinary world, the journey that brought him to where he is today.

Pickled Quail Eggs 4.2/5

The Chicken and Egg is a layered chicken fat chawanmushi with creme fraiche and a generous topping of finely-chopped chives. However, my favourite is the Pickled Quail Egg, which surprised me with its tartness and sweetness from the black vinegar.

Duck Fat Financiers 4/5

Everyone at the table paused momentarily when the Duck Fat Financiers ($10) was served. I was wondering whether this is a savoury or dessert dish. It is interesting to pair the buttery duck fat with a creamy and flavourful chicken liver mousse. The combination may sound weird, but it works for me.

Crispy Baby Squid 4.5/5

The Crispy Baby Squid ($16) is highly addictive, coated in a thin layer of potato starch and deep-fried to golden brown. They are enhanced with a shichimi togarashi sprinkle and are best enjoyed with the squid ink aioli dip.

You Mai Chai 3/5

The You Mai Chai ($12) is served as a salad, tossed in pandan oil, honey and mustard dressing, and topped with prawn and coconut flakes. I am not used to having the greens as a salad. I still prefer to have it stir-fried.

Sweet XL Clams 4.2/5

One of my favourite dishes for the night is the Sweet XL Clams ($24), topped with egg floss. The clams were huge, plump and juicy, swimming in a fragrant and delicious Hua Tiao broth, perking the enjoyment.

Buah Keluak Pork Belly 4/5

A change from the usual buah keluak chicken is the Buah Keluak Pork Belly ($26) paired with achar at the side. The tender pork belly is topped with coconut serundeng and ginger flower, elevating the taste profile. The accompanying achar is a welcoming side to balance the pork belly's richness.

Barramundi 3.5/5

The Barramundi ($28) was cooked beautifully with perfectly seared crispy skin, perched on a lightly-spiced garam masala pumpkin puree. While I enjoyed the fish, I wouldn't say I liked the use of Indian spices in the dish. The idea is good, but more tweak is needed to bring the dish together.

Cold Bee Hoon 4/5

If you need your carbo, the Cold Bee Hoon ($6) will fill you up. The rice vermicelli is packed with flavours from the ebi sakura, shallot oil and chives, worked beautifully together.

Ice Cream Sandwich 4.2/5

The desserts at 808 Eating House are also crafted with a focus on local and regional flavours. The Ice Cream Sandwich ($12), a local childhood treat, comes in a modern take of black sesame parfait sandwiched between two wafer biscuits, topped with coconut caramel, mushroom crumble and mint.

Peanut In A Cup 3/5

The idea behind Peanut In A Cup ($5) is akin to savouring a bowl of local peanut soup. First, concentrated peanut milk is rendered by steeping roasted peanuts in warm milk. Then, it is poured into a glass of muscovado syrup at the base. Please give it a good swirl to enjoy the creamy texture and rich flavour.

Overall I find 808 Eating House has a lot of potential. I get what the chef is trying to do. It is creative, but more work and tweaks are needed to combine the concept and flavours. Saying so, I do look forward to their next menu.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

808 Eating House
153 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427431
Tel: +65 89468089
Nearest MRT: Dakota (CC Line)

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu: 6pm - 11pm
Fri-Sun: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm

1) Alight at Dakota MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to bus stop at block 99 (Stop ID 81181). Take bus 33. Alight 5 stops later. Walk across the open-air carpark. Walk to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]

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